AbbVie Chooses Two Parkinson’s Therapies to Develop With Mission

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by Forest Ray PhD |

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AbbVie and Mission collaborate/ reached and drug candidates selected

AbbVie has selected two drug candidates — both targeting enzymes known as DUBs — for further development as possible Parkinson’s disease treatments, as part of the company’s ongoing collaboration with Mission Therapeutics.

“We are delighted to have reached this next major milestone in our collaboration with AbbVie and receive the $20 million milestone — this represents a big step forward for Mission and further highlights DUBs as targets for drug development,” Anker Lundemose, MD, PhD, Mission’s CEO, said in a press release.

The two companies entered a partnership in 2018 to develop Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s therapies based on deubiquitylating enzyme (DUB) inhibitors.

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DUBs describe a large family of enzymes that regulate how cells digest and recycle proteins. Some DUBs participate in deconstructing the misfolded and potentially toxic proteins associated with disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

The potential therapies from this collaboration may help to maintain neuronal or nerve cell health in people with the two progressive disorders.

Preclinical studies involving both cell and animal models of the disorders led to the decision to develop these two compounds. The selection marks the second major milestone in the companies’ collaboration, and triggers a $20 million payment from AbbVie to Mission.

“The successful and timely progression of two DUB targets into the drug discovery phase is further validation of our platform,” Lundemose said. “We look forward to the continuation of this great neurodegenerative disease collaboration.”

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Mission developed its discovery platform to overcome challenges in identifying specific and highly selective DUB inhibitors capable of working in the central nervous system or CNS, which comprises the brain and spinal cord. The CNS is where nerve damage related to Parkinson’s occurs.

“There is an urgent need for treatments that can make tangible and lasting improvements to the lives of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients,” said Eric Karran, PhD, vice president of neuroscience discovery research at AbbVie.

“Our collaboration with Mission has the potential to identify novel therapeutic options for neurodegenerative disorders,” Karran said. “We have had a great experience working with Mission and are pleased to be able to continue to draw on their valued expertise as we enter the next phase of drug development.”

Under the terms of the agreement, AbbVie will pay Mission certain sums based on reaching predetermined development milestones. The company also will pay Mission royalties for each commercialized product. AbbVie retains the option to hold exclusive rights to develop and commercialize DUB inhibitors arising from this collaboration.

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